By Kristi Kates
Big, big numbers are being projected for this years 20th Anniversary Lollapalooza Festival (August 5-7) in Chicago, which serves as pretty much the Midwests only truly gigantic claim to summer music festival fame, with Rothburys Electric Forest Fest aiming at second place. Lolla keeps aiming at bigger and bigger goals, and this years no exception.
If 90,000 tickets sold per each day of Lollas three-day run sounds like a lot to you, youre right - last years record was 240,000 people over the weekend; a sold-out show this year would result in a three-day attendance of 270,000. So patience will definitely be a virtue - but itll be worth it to see Lollas once again standout lineup.
To Lollas credit, theyve been working hard on making the whole thing work, capacity crowds or no. The Lolla organizers have now expanded the festival grounds to across the street from Grant Park, where attendees will be happy to find the new Google Plus stage; two branches (North and South) of the popular environmental market, Green Street; several Lolla lounges; and the equally popular Perrys dance pavilion, which hosts loads of Lolla guests moving and grooving to the best in electronica music and DJ sets.
Green Street is one of the most interesting elements of every years Lollapalooza, as it aims to be the public face of the fests environmental initiatives to be as green, or sustainable, an event as possible. At Green Street on-site, youll be able to purchase eco-friendly artwork, including clothing from Avatar and Chaos Card Company, jewelry, photography and print art, and a whole lot more. Green Streets Farmers Market brings fresh foods direct from farm-to-festival for a break from the usual festival eats (more about those in a moment), and those wanting to help a bigger cause can check out the Lolla Cares booths.
And now back to those festival meals on-the-run. Theyre definitely top-notch at Lolla compared to most music festivals, and even more so the past couple of years, with Iron Chef competitor and local Chicago bistronomic restauranteur-slash-Lollas Culinary Ambassador Graham Elliot, whos taken on the large task of organizing over 30 eclectic food vendors for Lollas Chow Town, which, much like Green Street this year, has both North and South stations to help disperse crowds and offer a wide range of eats.
AND OF COURSE, MUSIC
Most importantly are the bands playing at Lolla each year, the foundation of the entire event and the Midwests opportunity to travel in from the outlying areas to see musicians that might not tour some of the smaller towns.
This year, Lollas lineup is just as impressive as previous years. Headliners include festival favorite (and previous Lolla headliner) Muse; new-to-Lolla Foo Fighters; Deadmau5; Detroiter Eminem; A Perfect Circle; and the somewhat incongruous Coldplay, whose more elegant music - and less party-centric fans - might be a bit of a mismatch for Lolla.
The smaller stages are no less intriguing. Popular indie-popsters/rockers on the side stages this year include highlights the zippy underground rock of Arctic Monkeys, the retro-synthy White Lies, the folk-pop of Bright Eyes, and clever Chicago favorites OK Go. Elsewhere, Cold War Kids, Portugal. The Man, The Kills, and Two Door Cinema Club will be reeling in the crowds.
Plenty of this years buzz bands are in evidence, too, from Smith Westerns, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Noah and the Whale, and The Joy Formidable; and if its dance/electronica/DJ sets youre waiting for, be sure to check out Modeselektor, Pretty Lights, Midnight Conspiracy, Daedelus, Chris Cox, and of course festival founder Perry Farrell himself, appearing with his wife as PerryEtty; and hip-hop is in evidence most notably through the appearances of The Cool Kids and Cee Lo Green.
Throw in Lollapaloozas direct proximity to downtown Chicago and the Michigan Avenue shopping area, the beauty and green spaces of Grant Park (where the festival is primarily held), and weather that, if history holds, is sure to range in the upper 80s, rain or sun, and youve got the recipe for another great Lollapalooza, and a perfect way to celebrate their 20th anniversary as a festival in 2011.
For more info on the Lollapalooza festival, visit www.lollapalooza.com.